Workers’ compensation benefits offer necessary relief and support to workers injured on the job and their dependents. If your circumstances prompt you to consider quitting your job while you are receiving benefits, secure legal representation from a workers’ compensation lawyer from John Foy & Associates. A variety of consequences can occur if you quit.
With extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation laws, your attorney will help you navigate the potential scenarios and move toward the most favorable outcome.
How Does Workers’ Comp Help Injured Employees?
Workers’ compensation, commonly referred to as workers’ comp, helps injured employees in several ways.
- It incentivizes employers to keep their work environments safe, thus avoiding workplace injuries or illnesses and the subsequent payouts owed to employees injured on the job.
- It provides wage replacement to employees who cannot work and earn income because of an on-the-job injury or illness. Employees pay eligible employees two-thirds of their (the employees’) average weekly wages every week, up to $725.
- It provides coverage to employees requiring medical treatment for workplace injuries or illnesses. Employers must furnish employees with a panel of at least six doctors who are part of the workers’ comp insurance plan, and workers can choose which of those doctors to see.
- It gives financial support to dependents of workers killed from on-the-job injuries or illness.
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When Does a Worker Get Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Workers are eligible for workers’ comp starting their first day of a job. Business owners who employ three or more people, including themselves, must purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
To be eligible for benefits, workers must be actual company employees, not independent contractors. However, some companies miscategorize employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers’ compensation. In recent years, with the rise of rideshare companies and Amazon deliveries, these miscategorized employees have fought to secure benefits.
If you think you have been miscategorized, be sure to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help you get the benefits you deserve.
The Injury Must Be Work-Related
Employees are only eligible if they are hurt or develop an illness that is work-related. For example, if you are driving an employee vehicle and get into an accident, your accident is work-related.
If you are driving your own car for a work-related reason, such as to deliver something for your boss, and have an accident, the injuries are still work-related. Injuries sustained at construction sites, slips, and falls on an unmarked, wet office hallway, or breathing problems caused by inhaling toxic fumes in your workplace are other examples of work-related injuries.
Can I Quit My Job While on Workers’ Comp?
You can quit your job while on workers’ comp but must take several factors into consideration before making this decision. It is in your best interest to discuss each of the factors with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can inform you of the risks and/or benefits you will encounter because of your decision.
- First, your benefits will be affected in that, while you will likely continue to receive coverage for medical care, you may lose or see your wage replacement benefits reduced. Depending on your circumstances, you may continue to see coverage for partial or permanent disability.
- Second, if you quit your job without having another lined up, you also lose the opportunity to seek unemployment benefits.
- Third, if you want to quit and move into a new employment situation and make less money at the new job, you may continue to receive partial wage replacement benefits.
Before You Make a Change to a New Job
Moving to a new employer may be in your best interests. Before moving into a new job situation, be sure to:
- Get a detailed description of the job’s requirements to ensure you can carry out all tasks. Keep in mind, if you take a new job that has certain physical requirements, workers’ comp may deem you able to work and stop your benefits.
- Get medical clearance from your doctor to take the new job.
- Ensure your new employer will accommodate any medical restrictions you have.
- Notify the workers’ comp insurance company of your new employer and complete and submit any paperwork they request.
What if I Already Received My Benefits as a Lump Sum?
When you apply for workers’ comp, your lawyer will present you with different collection options, and you may choose to receive a lump sum settlement. Your attorney will negotiate the amount with your employer’s insurance company. If your case is settled before you quit and move to another job, you should be able to keep the settlement amount. It is generally not recommended to quit before settling.
Can I Get Fired from My Job While on Workers’ Comp?
Sadly, many injured employees do not apply for workers’ comp, fearing employers will fire them in retaliation. Workers’ comp benefits are your right, and you should not avoid pursuing them. Even if you are fired, you should continue to receive disability payments so long as your doctor monitors and regularly verifies your condition. A workers’ compensation lawyer can take your case through the process to ensure you receive what you deserve.
Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws do not mandate how employers must treat injured employees, and under Georgia’s at-will status, employers can fire employees for any reason at any time.
However, employers cannot fire employees in acts of retaliation or discrimination. These actions are illegal and classified as “wrongful termination.” If you have been wrongfully terminated in an act of retaliation by your employer after filing for workers’ comp, your lawyer can review your situation and determine whether it is in your best interest to pursue a wrongful termination suit.
Consult Before You Quit
After sustaining a work injury, you are entitled to and need the benefits you get from workers’ comp. Before quitting your job, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer from John Foy & Associates. During your free consultation, your lawyer will review your situation, present you with all potential outcomes, and help you make the employment decision that serves you and your household best.